There might have been plenty of entertainment, but it has been an unusual and not always satisfactory season in Germany. From purely footballing concerns, such as Bayern Munich’s dominance, the video assistant referees (VAR) and the 50+1 rule, to socio-political issues such as right-wing extremists and increased police powers, the 2017/18 Bundesliga season has provided no shortage of issues for active German football fans to get their teeth into. Many of the grievances resulted from a percieved over-commersalisation of the game at the expense of regular match-going fans. At the very top, a Bundesliga season that started with Bayern Munich showing uncharacteristic weakness, and firing trainer Carlo Ancelotti before the Oktoberfest had even begun, ended much like the one before. Bayern made it six straight league titles, dominating the Bundesliga once again and establishing themselves as one of the best teams in club history, after Jupp Heynckes was brought in. He galvanised the … [Read more...] about The struggle to protect Bundesliga standards
Apart from the highly-anticipated match-up between Julian Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim and newly promoted energy-crazed side RB Leipzig, the first matchday of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season also gave us a glimpse of hate between two commercial German football clubs. Hoffenheim, a club propelled to the top by billionaire Dietmar Hopp’s commercialism, wanted to take back their throne as the most hated club in German football. This fixture presented a few puzzling questions for the German football association quite early on. These are two clubs that have found huge loopholes in the renowned 50+1 rule. A rule that would perhaps be more applicable in England than in Germany where traditional values still govern the footballing sphere, a club of Newcastle United’s stature could benefit from a model such as Hoffenheim’s as opposed to that of RB Leipzig. For someone without German football knowledge, the 50+1 ruling may appear a little complicated. In an ideal world, fans … [Read more...] about Bundesliga’s 50+1 model
It was a night of which Sevilla can be proud but, ultimately, it felt like the night when the dream died. Thiago Alcantara, of all people, popped up with a second-half header to complete Bayern Munich’s comeback in a game that had started with such hope but ended with such frustration. Sevilla know they had their shot and they could have taken it too. This was a game of millimetres but they were up against a side precision engineered, while they remain a work in progress. 90 minutes remain of this Champions League quarter-final tie and on this evidence Sevilla will entertain as they go down fighting. But going down feels sadly inevitable. The Allianz, unlike many new stadia, retains a matchday atmosphere to be fearful of and becomes a cauldron on big European nights. In that way – and virtually only that way – it is like Seville’s charming, old-world Sanchez Pizjuan, which bubbled over with excitement at every tackle, shot or moment of notable thrust in an … [Read more...] about Thiago Alcantara diving header hands Bayern Munich telling advantage against Sevilla in Champions League tie
Dominic Solanke didn't waste any time making an impact when thrown on for his Anfield debut against Crystal Palace back in August. Solanke had only been on the pitch two minutes when his pressing forced Luka Milivojevic into the mistake that allowed Sadio Mane to snaffle the only goal of a tense encounter. It was another example of how the 20-year-old, buoyed by being named player of the tournament in England's U20 World Cup triumph, had hit the ground running following his summer move from Chelsea. Indeed, that the youngster was introduced against Palace ahead of Divock Origi hinted at the shift in pecking order that saw the Belgian allowed to join Wolfsburg on loan the following week. Solanke demonstrated his impact again earlier this week when heading in a late winner for England under-21s against Ukraine at Bramall Lane. But as the Reds prepare to face Crystal Palace again on Saturday, the season hasn't gone quite as might have been expected for the forward. Solanke is still … [Read more...] about What next for Dominic Solanke at Liverpool?
Leicester City have a series of players out on loan deals after the January transfer window. But how are these players getting on at their loan clubs? Islam Slimani - Newcastle Rafa Benitez has said that Islam Slimani is still not guaranteed a place in the Newcastle United team even after the Algerian returns from injury. The striker moved to St James Park on loan on deadline day in January but has not played a single minute of club football due to a thigh injury - although he played 30 minutes for Algeria in midweek. He now looks set to play a maximum of seven games for the club in their battle against relegation. The 29-year-old’s move has been an unmitigated and expensive disaster with a reported £2million fee and his wages being paid by Newcastle. Andy King – Swansea A club stalwart, King made 374 appearances for City before exiting for Swansea on deadline day. The Welshman has made three Premier League appearances for the Swans since arriving and has scored one … [Read more...] about How are City’s loan players getting on at their new clubs